Question from a reader:
Is it true that the longer you’re on suboxone the harder and worse it is to get off it? My belief is long term treatment outweighs the benefits of short term treatment, people who do “the short term” detox ALWAYS seem to relapse…
I try to talk to people about this at a site/forum i just recently left because of the false and inaccurate information given on a daily basis from people who have never been on suboxone treatment…? i got tired of arguing my point, and tired of defending my recovery…so i left!
Recovery dot com is a mess there for anyone on suboxone treatment looking for support. I am in NO WAY promoting this forum for anyone looking for support…its just awful. its was 80% of my problem related to depression.
I started suboxone treatment in May of 2007, and i feel fine. i am not using, i feel nothing but normalcy. something i hadnt felt in almost 10 years.
Suboxone and the work i put into this literally saved my life, and gave me a 2nd chance at life.
As you probably know. the answer to your question is no– there is absolutely no evidence that it gets harder and harder to get off Suboxone. From an understanding of how Suboxone works, there is no reason to suspect that would be true, whether looking from the neurochemical perspective or the behavioral perspective.
Neurochemically, Suboxone induces a certain level of tolerance that remains constant over time; a person’s tolerance after a few days of Suboxone will be the same as after ten years of Suboxone. I can also assure you from witnessing many people stopping Suboxone that it is MUCH EASIER to come off than it is to come off an opiate agonist like hydrocodone, oxycodone, or methadone. Sites that say otherwise are either lying or ignorant.
From a behavioral perspective, the goal with Suboxone treatment is to ‘extinguish conditioned behavior’. Think of a dog trained to push a lever for a pellet of food; if you stop giving the pellet, the dog will push the lever over and over for awhile, then go lay down and sleep… then wake up, come back, and push the lever over and over again… eventually giving up. The dog’s automatic conditioned behavior, that ‘lever means pellet’, eventually goes away.
The addict on Suboxone needs the same thing to happen with the conditioned behavior related to addiction. This is why it is so important to dose once per day in the morning and to ignore those little feelings late in the day that feel like withdrawal, but that in reality are just in your mind. Those feelings are remnants of conditioning; if a person distracts himself and ignores them they will eventually fade away and the person will ‘forget’ he is an addict entirely!
On the other hand, if he takes a bit of extra Suboxone for those feelings he will only reinforce them– sort of like giving a pellet to the dog every now and then, just when it is about to give up on pushing the lever. The best way to take Suboxone is to NEVER take it in response to a ‘feeling that it is needed’; that is what using addicts do when they abuse Suboxone. Instead you want to take it in the morning automatically, without feeling that it is needed to change how you feel.
I agree that Suboxone is best thought of and used as a long-term medication. As for those sites that you mentioned and others like them, I don’t know why they have such a following. One thing I know though from 15 years of Recovery and meetings– the type of fear-mongering in bitterness that is spread by those sites is not consistent with staying sober– not for long anyway. I suggest we all just let those people be.